SBOM releases guide for churches as they prepare to reopen campuses

The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions has released a guide to help churches transition their worship services back to in-person gatherings as smoothly as possible when the time comes.

The 10-page downloadable resource, also available online, outlines five key areas for consideration (facilities, leadership, worship, ministries and finances), along with questions to consider and possible solutions to common concerns related to those five areas.

“Extra care must be given to make people feel comfortable after this time of stay-at-home orders and continued social distancing,” the introduction to the online document states. “Added precautions should be taken to ease the worries and concerns that our people will have.

“Doing all you can in advance will show your concern and care for your congregation and the community. Remember to follow the guidelines of federal, state and local leaders and agencies as you reopen your facilities.”

As the national discussion surrounding reopening public life ramped up in late April, a top concern of many churches in this season is caring well for senior adults, one of the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aaron Meraz, director of GuideStone Financial Resources’ Mission:Dignity program said almost one-third of Southern Baptist church attendees are senior adults above the age of 65, as are many teachers and volunteers.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suggested churches should “strongly encourage” the at-risk population to participate remotely and that churches should “designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population or offer a service for at-risk population attendees only.”

Mark Dooley, state director of evangelism for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said “each situation is going to be unique,” and senior adults should be given room to make the decision they are most comfortable with.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, TAB